...the fact has always been for the physicist the one ultimate thing from which there is no appeal, and in the face of which the only possible attitude is a humility almost religious.
The Logic of Modern Physics Chapter I (pp. 2-3)
Facts as facts do not always create a spirit of reality, because reality is a spirit.
Come to Think of It On the Classics (p. 49)
"Facts?" he repeated. "Take a drop more grog, Mr. Franklin, and you'll get over the weakness of believing in facts! Foul play, Sir!"
The Moonstone Chapter IV (p. 275)
...it is always safe and philosophic to distinguish, as much as is in our power, fact from theory; the experience of past ages is sufficient to show us the wisdom of such a course; and considering the constant tendency of the mind to rest on an assumption, and, when it answers every present purpose, to forget that it is an assumption, we ought to remember that it, in such cases, becomes a prejudice, and inevitably interferes, more or less, with a clear-sighted judgment. I cannot doubt but that he who, as a wise philosopher, has most power of penetrating the secrets of nature, and guessing by hypothesis at her mode of working, will also be most careful, for his own safe progress and that of others, to distinguish that knowledge which consists of assumption, by which I mean theory and hypothesis, from that which is the knowledge of facts and laws; never raising the former to the dignity or authority of the latter, nor confusing the latter more than is inevitable with the former.
A Speculation Touching Electric Conduction and the Nature of Matter (p. 136)
Volume XXIV, January-June, 1844
Men of science do not pledge themselves to creeds; they are bound by articles of no sort; there is not a single belief that it is not a bounden duty with them to hold with a light hand and to part with cheerfully, the moment it is really proved to be contrary to any fact, great or small.
Collected Essays Volume II Darwiniana
On Our Knowledge of the Causes of the Phenomena of Organic Nature
Facts are popularly regarded as antidotes to mysteries. And yet, in sober earnest, there is nothing so mysterious as a fact.
The Atlantic Monthly Is There a Foolproof Science? (p. 229) Volume 133, Number 2, February 1924
Facts are necessary, of course, but unless fertilized by ideas, correlated with other facts, illuminated by thought, I consider them as material only for science.
The Progress of Physiology (p. 203) Volume 70, 1929
If a fact is known on all its sides, it is, by that knowledge, explained, and the problem of science is ended.
In Ernst Mach
History and Root of the Principle of the Conservation of Energy
The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote...Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.
Light Waves and Their Uses Lecture II (pp. 23-4, 24)
The historian, the physicist, even, must make a choice among facts; the head of the scientist, which is only a corner of the universe, could never contain the universe entire; so that among the innumerable facts nature offers, some will be passed by, others retained.
The Foundations of Science Science and Method Book I Chapter II (p. 369)
Shaw, George Bernard
But an Englishman was not daunted by facts. To explain why all the lines in his rectilinear universe were bent, he invented a force called gravitation and thus erected a complete British universe and established it as a religion which was devoutly believed in for 300 years. The book of this Newtonian religion was not that oriental magic thing, the Bible. It was that British and matter-of-fact thing, a Bradshaw[a British railway timetable]. It gives the stations of all the heavenly bodies, their distances, the rates at which they are traveling, and the hour at which they reach eclipsing points or crash into the earth like Sirius. Every time is precise, ascertained, absolute and English.
In B. Patch Thirty Years with G.B.S. Chapter 12 (p. 235)
A fact is a fact is a fact.
The Two Cultures: And a Second Look Chapter 4 (p. 45)
It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blink facts because they are not to our taste.
Fragments of Science Volume II Science and Man
When we inquire what Facts are to be made the materials of Science, perhaps the answer which we should most commonly receive would be, that they must be True Facts, as distinguished from any mere inferences or opinions of our own.
Novum Organon Renovatum Chapter III (pp. 50-1)
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